Alexion Pharmaceuticals to pay $13M to settle kickback allegations

Alexion Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $13 million to settle allegations that it used charities to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients, according to a STAT news report.

The settlement, disclosed in a recent regulatory filing, resolves civil claims stemming from donations Alexion made to two organizations that provide financial help to Medicare patients, Patient Services and the National Organization of Rare Disorders. Prosecutors claim the donations amounted to kickbacks paid to Medicare patients to reduce their out-of-pocket costs and in turn boost sales. The donations in question were made between 2010 and 2016.

During those same years, Alexion marketed an expensive rare disease drug, Soliris. The drug, which has a $700,000 price tag, treats paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a genetic disease that destroys red blood cells.

The settlement comes as federal prosecutors target more drugmakers for programs that provide patients with free medications and copay assistance and donations made to organizations that provide copay assistance.

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